In FY 2020, Milford Regional Medical Center leadership put decades of routine disaster drills to the test on March 10, when Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency as COVID-19 cases in the state of Massachusetts were rapidly increasing.
Within hours, Milford Regional Medical Center activated their disaster plan establishing a Command Center with key personnel to oversee around-the-clock care, treatment and supplies. An online assessment tool was launched to help community members check their symptoms. A dedicated hotline manned by clinical staff was set up to answer community concerns about COVID-19. Drive-thru COVID-19 testing was soon available at Milford Regional Medical Center. In addition, a 3,800-square-foot alternate care site was constructed on campus to ensure availability of extra space should a potential surge in COVID-19 patients require it.
Four existing Milford Regional Urgent Care sites, staffed by Milford Regional Physician Group, were transformed throughout the pandemic to accommodate the healthcare needs of patients with and without COVID-19 symptoms. Their physician offices activated a wide-spread tele-health initiative to provide important face-to-face care for their patients.
Dedication and Reinvention
While the virus was building in strength, so was the determination of our healthcare system to meet the challenge. At the Medical Center, every member of the team from physicians, nurses and auxiliary staff to dietary and housekeeping was focused on the needs of a mounting number of admitted COVID patients. In support of that dedication, leadership was focused on ensuring the safety of the staff, which continues into FY 2021.
Leadership convened daily to assess the situation and the entire system constantly reinvented itself throughout the year to meet the changing demands of the virus, government regulations and the needs of patients and staff. A true spirit of teamwork enveloped every corner of the hospital and off-campus sites.
As news spread of the mounting number of COVID-19 cases, the community started a steady flow of activities to acknowledge and show gratitude for the dedication of the staff throughout the healthcare system. Teachers, school children, entire families young and old sent cards, posters and notes of gratitude to recognize the professionalism on display each day at Milford Regional.
A Tribute Train of emergency vehicles and first responders from the towns surrounding Milford Regional Medical Center paraded past the campus to show support. Local businesses, schools and community organizations donated food and much-needed supplies to help feed the staff and keep them safe during their long shifts in every corner of the Medical Center. Volunteers who support Milford Regional every year were eager to help in any way that they could. The gratitude and compassion from the community was extraordinary and much appreciated by the Milford Regional team.
Learning and Planning for the Future
As FY 2021 began, Milford Regional’s leadership team was unified in its dedication to stay the course and continue its emphasis on quality care and continuous improvement as we face the second COVID-19 surge through the winter and 2021. Focus on supplies, capacity and staff communication are ongoing. The team takes the community’s trust seriously and will continue to work tirelessly to meet the needs of the community in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this daunting virus.